ATHENS – Greece’s Ombudsman has chastised the government for failing to comply with European Union directives toe extend civil unions to gay couples.
Under pressure from the Greek Orthodox Church, Greece will not allow gay marriage nor grant rights extending to unions between same-sex couples.
It has been a year since the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Greece to extend civil unions to gay couples, another in a long line of EU orders that Greece has ignored without any sanction.
The rights watchdog said that the government’s actions are “not in keeping with a modern state” and that they are an international embarrassment for the country.
Civil unions, or partnerships, are a legal form of partnership which have been available to heterosexual couples in Greece since 2008.
The Ombudsman said that the government’s failure to adopt the court’s ruling not only created problems for couples who would benefit but also “prolongs confusion within society, allowing stereotypes and prejudice to be maintained along with degrading and marginalizing behavior.”
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservative-led coalition has shown no interest in legislation protecting gays, even omitting them from an anti-racist bill.